The Upstate Life
The Upstate Life

Wednesday, December 31, 2008
TUL Presents His Top 10 11 Albums of 2008, Because You Really Care

11) Foals – Antidotes: By far the most overlooked record of 2008. Right after we saw their appearance at Lollapalooza this summer I picked up their album because they possessed a unique sound all their own. Think Battles meets Blur. Hard to explain, but you could call them a British math rock band if that makes sense. Anyway, not bad for a debut album.

10) Lil Wayne - Tha Carter III: I hate pulling the "I've heard of this artist for x amount of years before you ever did" crap, but fuck it. It pisses me off that all of these suburbanites, yuppies, and junior high school kids jumped on Weezy's nuts as soon as "Lollipop" came out, especially because it's such an awful song. For crying out loud, anyone remember the Cash Money Millionaires 2000 masterpiece "Project Bitch" that featured Wayne's classic verse "I'm Lil Weezy for sheezy, I'm off the heezy believe me, See me, I squeeze in between it, and then I leave it so greasy." Yeah, that was awesome. Oh, and TC3 is a good album too (except the aforementioned "Lollipop" and "Mrs. Officer", you know, the singles).

9) TV on the Radio – Dear Science: This is by far TV on the Radio's most accessible album to date, and yet, it's also their best. From the pulsating handclaps found in "Dancing Choose" to the strings layered in the emotionally powerful "Stork and Owl", TVOTR never fails to impress.

8) Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes: Well we can't have an album that's atop every other list to not be included in this one now, can we? The Seattle-based band creates some powerful, multi-layered harmonies that haven't been heard since Brian Wilson released Smile back in 2004. "White Winter Hymnal" really is a beautiful song.

7) Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend: I really can't hate on these guys. Each of the songs found on the band's self-titled debut are well-written and produced. From the Baroque arrangements heard on "M79" to the hints of ska found on "A-Punk", these Columbia boys know how to create pop songs.

6) Wolf Parade – At Mount Zoomer: Another overlooked release that definitely deserves some praise. A more focused effort than Apologies to the Queen Mary, Spencer Krug and Co. deliver on the band's second release. The pounding piano chords coupled with Spencer's echoed voice on "Call it a Ritual" creates a haunting sonic backdrop while rocker "Language City" is something you hope that will eventually be found to play on Rock Band.

5) She & Him – Volume One: As someone who has committed the cardinal sin of never seen Elf, I had no idea who Zooey Deschanel was except that she apparently co-starred in the Will Ferrell holiday film. So I guess the story goes that M. Ward liked her voice and soon decides to make an album together, and guess what? It's great. All but two of the eloquent pop numbers found on Volume One exceed three minutes and transports the listener back to a time when muddled nonsense like "Shackler's Revenge" didn't exist.

4) Girl Talk – Feed the Animals: Greg Gillis does it again, except instead of pairing Neutral Milk Hotel with "There It Go (The Whistle Song)" we hear DJ Fatman Scoop paired with college bar staples such as Tom Petty's "American Girl". And you know what? There's not a damn thing wrong with that.

3) CSS – Donkey: While some may argue that CSS' self-titled debut is a stronger album than Donkey, I beg to differ. In fact, I prefer listening to the latter over the former mainly because the songs aren't nearly as gimmicky as those found on Cansei de Ser Sexy. If anything it's a more focused effort instead of the band going all over the place. Oh, and there are some incredibly catchy pop numbers that'll remain on constant repeat in your head for days.

2) Hot Chip – Made in the Dark: The London-based group has released their best effort to date in Made in the Dark. Comprised of songs ranging from rapid-fire dance to slow groove, Hot Chip's latest moves the band away from its "electropop" genre tag to one that goes all over the place. The coinciding track placement of "We're Looking for a Lot of Love" and "Touch Too Much" pretty much explains what I'm talking about.

1) Cut Copy - In Ghost Colours: By far the best album to dance to with guiltless pleasure. The irresistible hooks, guitar riffs, and melodies found in each of the album's diverse 15 tracks make In Ghost Colours a clear cut winner. To truly appreciate this album one must see them live. The songs take on a whole new existence. That's when you know a band has delivered a great record.

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